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Premier League friendly roundup

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With just 13 days to go until the 2018/19 Premier League season kicks off, a whole host of clubs were in action on Saturday across the globe as preseason reaches its climax.

[ STREAM: Watch every PL match live

From Arsenal hammering PSG in Singapore to a bunch of PL clubs playing against second-tier Championship sides on home soil, the run-outs for new boys continued.

Below is a look at all of the PL clubs in action on Saturday, with only Burnley and Huddersfield not playing.


Leicester 1-2 Udinese – Lasagna and Machis struck in the first half for the Serie A side against the Foxes in Austria. Ricardo went close and then linked up with Kelechi Iheanacho who made it 2-1, as Claude Puel is without stars Harry Maguire and Jamie Vardy but Leicester’s squad is looking deeper than last season.


Dijon 0-2 SouthamptonShane Long and Manolo Gabbiadini with a goal in each half for Mark Hughes‘ men as they completed their preseason trip to Switzerland with a win against Ligue 1 Evian.


Ipswich Town 1-2 West Ham United – The Hammers took the lead early as record signing Felipe Anderson headed home at the back post, but Harrison soon put the Tractor boys level with a tidy finish and went close soon after. Mark Arnautovic scored the winner as Manuel Pellegrini‘s side continue their impressive preseason form.


Reading 0-4 Crystal PalaceAlex Sorloth gave Palace a first half lead as he hammered home a cross from Wilfried Zaha and the Eagles didn’t look back. In the second half Roy Hodgson‘s side added another three goals with Zaha grabbing two and James Tomkins nodding home Andros Townsend‘s fine cross.


Nottingham Forest 2-0 Bournemouth – A goal either side of half time gave Forest the victory against PL side Bournemouth with Tendayi Darikwa and Gil Dias on the scoresheet. The Cherries kept Costel Pantillimon busy but couldn’t break through at the City Ground.


Brentford 1-2 Watford – The Hornets fell behind as Ben Foster parried out a free kick and Ollie Watkins put Brentford in front. Maxi Pereyra caused problems and forced Brentford into an own goal to level the scores, then Andre Gray continued his fine form as he made it 2-1 in the first with his third goal of preseason. That turned out to be the winner.


Birmingham City 1-1 Brighton & Hove Albion – Second-tier Birmingham took the lead as Kieftenbeld volleyed home in the first half. And the Seagulls levelled in the final minute as new boy Yves Bissouma scored a beauty. The midfielder promises to be some signing from Lille.


Burton Albion 1-5 Cardiff City – The Bluebirds comfortably beat Championship side Burton after falling behind as Junior Hoillet’s dangerous free kick led to an own goal, Kenneth Zohore made it 2-1, then a beauty from Nathaniel Mendez-Laing made it 2-1 and second half goals from Bobby Reid and Callum Paterson completed the rout.


Derby County 2-1 Wolves – Joao Moutinho made his debut for PL new boys Wolves and although his fellow Portuguese international Patricio saved well, David Nugent was on hand to give Derby the lead. Wolves equalized through Diogo Jota who finished after Ruben Neves crashed against the bar, but Frank Lampard‘s side won it late on as Chelsea loanee Mason Mount scored the winner.


In action later on Saturday…
Manchester United v Liverpool
Tottenham Hotspur v Barcelona
Bayern Munich v Manchester City
FC Porto v Newcastle United
Inter Milan v Chelsea
Rennes v Everton
Athletic Bilbao v Fulham

Rumored Neymar for Bale swap: Who wins?

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Who would gain more of an advantage from the rumored, sensational Gareth Bale for Neymar swap: Paris Saint-Germain or Real Madrid?

Both players are currently problems for their clubs, though neither is known as a true rabble-rouser; Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane wants to be done with the newly-minted 30-year-old Bale, while PSG knows Neymar wants to leave and would love to satiate Kylian Mbappe’s appetite to be the man at their club.

[ REPORT: Man Utd, Leicester agree Maguire fee ]

Presumably some money would be headed PSG’s way in addition to Bale, and both clubs would be getting a motivated megawatt star.

Neymar doesn’t turn 28 until February, but the difference in age may be offset by the Brazilian’s track record of injuries.

In fact, his injury status last season combines with an off-field accusation of sexual assault and a red card for confronting a fan to overshadow his production: Neymar’s 23 goals and 13 assists in just over 2300 minutes last season, including five and two in the Champions League (and a goal and an assist against defensively-stout Liverpool).

Bale presents very few personality challenges, and PSG won’t have a problem with his massive wages (especially with Neymar off the books). His numbers have dipped in two of three seasons since his otherworldly 2015-16, but La Liga is a more difficult scoring league than Ligue 1.

Neymar has twice been a Ballon d’Or finalist and, presuming his legal troubles don’t persist, could be a title fight changer in La Liga. Imagine the Neymar, Eden Hazard, and Luka Jovic trying to outgun Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann, and Luis Suarez? Insane.

We’d say Real would be winning the straight-up swap, and that it’s pretty unlikely to go down that way. So it depends what PSG does with the relative Financial Fair Play freedom that would come with the money that also arrives from Spain. Is it Idrissa Gana Gueye? Someone else who helps take PSG’s Champions League hopes to the next level?

Manchester United in ‘concrete talks’ with Lille over Pepe

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Manchester United are reportedly in “concrete talks” to agree a fee with Lille for much-tracked playmaker Nicolas Pepe.

The 24-year-old attacking midfielder has been linked with Liverpool and Arsenal amongst others, and Lille has admitted he’ll be leaving the club.

[ REPORT: Man Utd, Leicester agree Maguire fee ]

United’s reported salvo was around $87.5 million. He’d give them a star who could play across from Anthony Martial or as an attacking midfielder under Romelu Lukaku.

Only Kylian Mbappe and Teji Savanier garnered better season-long ratings than Pepe in the 2018-19 Ligue 1 campaign, and Pepe’s 22 goals and 11 assists stand out from the pack. Only Mbappe had more goals and only Savanier more assists.

Pepe has four goals in 11 caps for the Ivory Coast, and made three starts in Les Elephants’ five-match run at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. He’s a fit for the Premier League, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s system. And if the Red Devils can keep him from Liverpool, well, all the better we’re sure.

Report: Manchester United, Leicester agree to monster Maguire fee

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Manchester United and Leicester City have agreed a fee for Harry Maguire, clearing the way for the English center back to join the Old Trafford set.

That fee is a whopping $100 million, according to Bleacher Report’s Dean Jones. That’s about $4 million more than the world record for a defender, set when Liverpool purchased Virgil Van Dijk from Southampton.

[ MORE: USMNT CB to West Ham? ]

Maguire has been a statistical monster for Leicester City, and he passes the eye test, too.

Manchester United has needed to upgrade its stable of center backs for some time, and now the biggest question is who will work best alongside the 6-foot-4 26-year-old.

The former Sheffield United, Wigan Athletic, and Hull City defender is now 20-times capped by England.

The move could have a ripple effect on the Premier League, as the Foxes have been expected to bid for Burnley star James Tarkowski should Maguire leave the King Power Stadium.

Transfer rumor roundup: USMNT’s Long to London, Newcastle linked with pair

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Could USMNT center back Aaron Long be headed to the Premier League?

The 26-year-old could join West Ham United’s stable of center backs, which includes Issa Diop, Fabian Balbuena, and Angelo Ogbonna.

Sky Sports says that the Red Bulls defender has drawn the interest of Lyon and Fiorentina, but been offered to the Irons should they match his $5 million release clause.

Unable to find a place with Portland and Seattle, Long spent a few seasons in the USL before earning a place with RBNY.

Now 11-times capped by the USMNT with two goals, Long could be bringing his talents to London’s Olympic Stadium.

Elsewhere in the Premier League, Newcastle United has the chance to sign oft-injured Danny Welbeck on a free transfer.

The longtime Arsenal striker, weaned at Manchester United, scored five times in 12 matches last season in a return to injury woes following a 43-match season the prior year.

Newcastle is also being linked with a former defender. James Tavernier has gone on to captain Glasgow Rangers, and the 27-year-old would cost around $10 million.

Surely Steven Gerrard would want more for the defender, but prices haven’t met quality for Scottish Premiership players as we’ve seen with Kieran Tierney at Celtic.